The format of the workshop was simple, but ultimately very, very powerful. We all took off our clothes at the beginning and then stood up in a circle looking at one another. We took turns being the center of attention but stayed in the circle formation. The person whose turn it was would tell the group their name, and what they love about their body and what they struggled with. Then the group would go around and each person in turn would give a specific compliment to the person about their body. Then we would move on to the next person.
My Femme “aha” moments still happen, almost ten years after coming out as Femme. Just in the last 6 months I’ve discovered the lasting effects of revamping my lounge wear.
I’m a draglesque performer who has a huge stash of lingerie, but mostly really fancy stuff for stage use only.
Example of stage use lingerie from the Femme Mafia Masquerade in Atlanta. I like to have my Femmeceeing gigs to contain a “lingerie course” whenever possible.
I’ve never had a partner who cared for it. More than one long-term partner said to me “I prefer you naked”, which broke my High Femme heart. All I ever wanted was to be that vixen who comes walking into the room wearing a surprise frilly something or other*. Of course, it was a nice sentiment and helped my fat girl ego to have lovers who loved my body without accouterments, but I am still a fan of frill and accessory. I’d like to think that my ideal mate would like me equally naked and in lingerie just as they liked me equally in and out of make-up.
Last summer I started discovering the magic of vintage lingerie and wearing it as outerwear. Once Deb started selling stuff for Re/Dress (before the brick and mortar store opened) I had a hook-up for vintage lingerie. Here’s me last summer wearing a swiss dot nightie and a miniskirt.
I can’t wait for the weather to be warmer so that I can start wearing that again on the regular.
My friend Molly used to tell me all the time when I complained about doing housework, that she did it while wearing lingerie. It always seemed so weird to me. First of all, I like to be supported when I am walking around, which generally meant a bra, and I had so long associated t-shirts with “comfy” that it didn’t occur to me that anything else qualified.
Whenever I catch Molly randomly on skype, I am treated to lingerie. That’s her enormous cat.
I decided to start challenging the notion that I had to save my lingerie for occasional and brief visits from suitors** and wear it around the house for my own benefit. Now, I’m not really talking about crotchless nothings or underwear that wiggles down as soon as you walk two steps, I’m taking cute camisoles with a little bit of support in them (Target $15.99), vintage lingerie, frilly robes and the like. I have to say, it’s totally revolutionized how I feel at home.
The robes they made in the sixties look like they wouldn’t make any difference, but they’re totally warm because they don’t breathe at all. Probably flame proof, too.
This is a “live from the Femme Slumber Party” picture of Rachael and me while I was on gaycation at her house for the Masquerade. That’s her “Don’t fuck with me” face.
Rachael’s partner Steph, the Gay Dr. Phil and Purveyor of all Things Down Home Texas Wisdom told me I looked like her grandmother in the sixties. I took that as a compliment.
The best part, though, is that I feel totally glamorous and cute, even when I’m just sitting around in my house. Probably one of the greatest things I picked up at this year’s fat girl flea market was this long grey dressing gown that has a plunging v-neck (killer, yet supported cleavage) and is floor length. It’s also super soft. Leah told me it looked like I was going to receive royalty, not just make up my guest bed for her.
For a girl who loves dress up, dressing up in loungewear is really fun. Like putting on a full face of make-up and doing up my hair even when I’m in a foul mood, wearing fancy loungewear makes a huge difference for me.
If you’re a t-shirt and sweats at home femme, more power to you. But if you love getting dressed up, don’t wait for a partner to okay it for you. Do it for yourself.
*Though, to be fair, I do this on stage so it’s not really that big of a deal. And it matters more to me that I do it as a political act than as an occasional treat for a paramour.
**I enjoy the feel of me in lingerie against a butch in a ribbed white undershirt better than pretty much anything.